We’ve been exploring what it is to be truly inspired designers. When we get to the point in a project where the usability research has been done, wireframes are approved and handoff is imminent - we look for design inspiration. At this point, it’s already too late. To be truly inspired visual designers, we need to see and feel like the user does. Sure, we can read some persona documents and get into their mindset, but that’s not enough. Being both involved and immersed from the project kickoff is how we get the deep level of understanding necessary to elevate our design.
Mad*Pow has experimented with several methods and processes to make this happen. We create user-inspired experiences, so we drink our own Kool-Aid when it comes to design. Our design teams are active members of the research and interface brainstorming sessions. They know who the users are, what makes them tick, what pisses them off and what they’re trying to do. This immersive process has been making our designs and experiences more effective, which leads to client objectives being met and mind-blowing success stories that further solidify our customer relationships.
In the age of everyone referring to either Apple.com or Mint.com for inspiration, homogenization is inevitable. Those are great sites, and they’re well designed for the task flows contained within. However, not every experience can or should follow the same script. User input has to drive how the end solution appears once it’s designed.
This is where we further test ourselves by submitting our designs to groups of users who judge them based on word associations. We align the predefined, desired descriptors and objectives with the word selections from users who have rated the designs. Clear winners shine through in the process, giving us the ability to provide client stakeholders with real-world information to assist them in picking the final design. Our influences are completely removed, allowing the users to guide and inspire the visual layer between human and interaction.
Immersion works and inspiration comes as a sweet byproduct. You’ll see this reflected in our work as we strive to perfect the user inspired design process.